Singer Arlo Guthrie says wife, Jackie, has died

Abe, 4, Arlo, and Jackie Guthrie attended a rally in 1974 to try to save a church in Washington, Mass.
Abe, 4, Arlo, and Jackie Guthrie attended a rally in 1974 to try to save a church in Washington, Mass. –Rising Son Records

WASHINGTON, Mass. — Folk singer Arlo Guthrie announced the death of his wife, Jackie. She was 68.

Jackie Guthrie had inoperable cancer and died Sunday at the couple’s winter home in Sebastian, Fla., according to an obituary released by Arlo Guthrie’s record label. The couple had recently celebrated their 43d wedding anniversary.

In a Facebook posting, Guthrie said his relationship with his wife was ‘‘a very great love.’’

‘‘We didn’t always like each other,’’ he wrote. ‘‘From time to time there were moments when we’d have our bags packed by the door. But, there was this great love that we shared from the moment we met — a recognition — It’s YOU! And we would always return to it year after year, decade after decade and I believe life after lifetime.’’


Jackie Guthrie was from Salt Lake City and grew up in Malibu, Calif. She met Arlo in 1968 while working as a cashier at the Troubadour, the Hollywood nightclub that was an epicenter for folk music. Before they
met, Jackie walked into the dressing room and told Arlo’s stepbrother that she would marry Arlo, according to the obituary released Monday by Guthrie’s label, Rising Son Records.

The next year, the couple purchased a 250-acre property called ‘‘The Farm’’ that the family still owns in Washington, in Western Massachusetts. They were married on the front lawn in October of that year.

The couple raised four children, and in recent years the family toured together, with Jackie Guthrie working as the videographer. This past summer, the family toured to celebrate the centennial birthday of Arlo’s father, folk singer Woody Guthrie, and Jackie became so weak she could barely hold up the camera, according to the obituary. In early September, she was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer.

On his website, Arlo Guthrie said his wife called her family to her bedside early Sunday and died later that morning.

On his Facebook page, Arlo Guthrie said he is canceling or postponing some upcoming shows and will begin a planned tour in Canada next week.


Jackie Guthrie leaves her four children with Arlo Guthrie; her daughter with singer David Crosby; and 10 grandchildren.

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